It’s true that we had the most amazing holiday in California just a couple of months ago. It was an epic, memorable family trip of a lifetime and I loved every minute. But it was totally exhausting. We returned home needing a rest but that just never happens at home. We were soon back to work and school and juggling all those balls again. The madness of everyday life is all consuming and it leaves little time for battery recharging.
So when our lovely bosses gave everyone an extra 3 days holiday for the year it meant we were able to squeeze in another week away. So October half term sees us in Scotland. We’ve never done Scotland before – not as a family anyway. In another lifetime Ad married his first wife in Gretna Green so he has sampled some of the delights Scotland has to offer. My only experience of Scotland is limited to Edinburgh train station after accidentally ending up there after boarding the wrong train many, many years ago. It is so tempting to now draw a comparison between wrong trains and wrong wives but that would be just mean! 😜
We arrived in Port William totally determined to have a relaxing break. We left bikes and kayaks at home and I had been upfront about my intentions regarding mountains – there would be no climbing this holiday! The cottage garden reaches out to the sea so I hoped for bracing beach walks, chilling out with a good book, afternoon naps and family movies. On the first night we arrived in time to watch the sun set over the bay. Not quite like watching it set over the Grand Canyon but still beautiful.
Port William itself is a tiny harbour village boasting a Spar, hotel, restaurant – and little else. Quiet is what we were aiming for and that is definitely what we got. We spent Sunday walking along the beach and chilling at the cottage. Ad and the kids ventured out to the beach for a second time but that was way too energetic for me.
So how many days of nothingness can we stand before boredom sets in and bickering starts? The answer to that question turned out to be one! Monday began with the smell of a full English being cooked by my husband and those dreaded and yet expected words from my son; “I’m bored.” It was very windy and a little chilly – but dry – so we decided to walk along the beach to the next hamlet. It was a fairly tough 3.5 mile walk along a pebbly and sometimes rocky beach. And when I say fairly tough I mean actually quite damaging. Those with dodgy knees and backs should not clamber over rocks. But it had the desired effect and an hour and a half later the cobwebs had been blown away and any hint of boredom banished. The fact that I could barely walk for the rest of the day was a small price to pay!
The rest of the week followed a similar pattern of walking, exploring and chilling out. Loch Ryan was beautiful in the glorious sunshine. A flock of swans trailed us as we strolled along the waters edge. They looked like they were poised for attack at one point but we escaped unscathed.
Isle of Whithorn is a picture postcard village well worthy of a visit. Once a tidal island, the causeway has been developed and built up over the years so that it no longer gets cut off from the mainland. We were lucky enough to watch a pod of dolphins playing for a few minutes – I never expected that. The older I get the more captivated I am by the natural world and watching the dolphin pod made my holiday.
St Ninian’s cave lies a few miles outside of Whithorn. It’s a mile or so to walk from the nearest carpark and as caves go it’s disappointingly small. But I say this as a heathen – the cave has religious significance and the Christians amongst you would appreciate it way more than me. But I was touched by the stones laid in the cave as a memorial to loved ones – although, if I’m being honest, it did feel a little creepy too.
The most southern point of Scotland is the Mull of Galloway. That sounded like a cool place to visit – so we did, and it was; remote and beautiful and the sun was out again casting a magical glow across everything.
We walked to the tip and played a game of “Who can get closest to the edge while Mand throws a fit” and the winner was, of course, Ad.
Ad was on form today so ended up in a mooing competition with one of the cows that roamed fairly free – as you do. Nutter.
On the way back from the edge and after arguing with some cows who were blocking the road, we decided to stop off at Newton Stewart. Josh was asleep so couldn’t object and Abs was feeling compliant (or had spotted an opportunity to wind up her brother by agreeing to something she knew he would hate) so we weren’t bombarded with the usual barrage of objections for suggesting we go somewhere “off plan”. The sun was working its magic yet again enveloping everything in a pink half light. Josh was trying hard to counteract this colourfulness by adding some blackness to the mood – let’s just say he was not impressed to be woken up for “another walk”!
We visited the Galloway Forest on our final day. Having spent most of the week on the coast we were ready for a change of scenery and a nice long woodland walk. Even Josh was up for it! But unfortunately the forest walk we chose had been pretty much decimated by Larch disease and most of the trees had been felled! At times the place felt post apocalyptic and a bit eerie.
But it definitely wasn’t all bad – we took the short 2.5 mile walk and in between sections of wiped out forest there was still waterfalls and rivers to admire.
So that’s it for our trip to Scotland. I wanted us to visit Gretna Green but for some strange reason Ad wasn’t too keen…
Back to reality now.